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Hive without frames or top bars?

 
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 1:41 am    Post subject: Hive without frames or top bars? Reply with quote

I was looking at the Perone hive designs recently, and one of the features I really like is the ability to harvest a whole box at once. No need to worry about cross comb.

So, instead of a grid of bars, what about a "plate" for the comb to attach to? You could drill enough holes to allow easy passage between boxes. Or even a few large top bars, several inches wide. Like a couple of 1X6s with a gap in between.

How much bee space do we need in between boxes?
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why have more than one box ?

The Eastern European 'Long Hive' comes close to what you're suggesting: check out the traditional Krainer/ Bauer/ Farmer's stock.

An improvement on these was the Anton Janscha Long Hive which is formed from two boxes, the upper of which can be dedicated to storing honey - but there's no need for any beespaces between them, as these boxes are completely independent of each other, and only 'connected' by a couple of large holes.

The Bienenkiste Hive is also of the single-box Krainer/ Bauer etc. type, and if the starter strips were to be removed, then you'd have exactly what you're proposing.

The only serious down-side to your idea is that 'fixed-comb' hives conflict with existing legislation in some countries.
Also - if the honey-combs are not easily removable (i.e. fully intact), then harvesting honey could become a very 'sticky' business. However, if you plan on removing a whole box of honey combs in one go, then carefully consider the weight involved beforehand - that is one of the many reasons I decided to build my Warre variant using Russian-style 108mm deep boxes.

Colin
BBC
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBC wrote:
Why have more than one box ?

cause lifting 40 kg of honey gets heavy!

BBC wrote:
The Eastern European 'Long Hive' comes close to what you're suggesting: check out the traditional Krainer/ Bauer/ Farmer's stock.

Do you have a link? I will definitely research it.

BBC wrote:
An improvement on these was the Anton Janscha Long Hive which is formed from two boxes, the upper of which can be dedicated to storing honey - but there's no need for any beespaces between them, as these boxes are completely independent of each other, and only 'connected' by a couple of large holes.


That's kinda what I was thinking about. 2 (or more for easy lifting) boxes, with a plate or several large boards in between. The idea is to remove the whole super box, chop and press everything, avoid the hassle of making a million little bars.

The big question, to me, is what is the minimum "hole space" on that plate to ensure the bees and climate are able to pass through.

BBC wrote:
The only serious down-side to your idea is that 'fixed-comb' hives conflict with existing legislation in some countries.

yeah, it's not a problem in my area

BBC wrote:
Also - if the honey-combs are not easily removable (i.e. fully intact), then harvesting honey could become a very 'sticky' business.

It might turn out to be a feature. Just set the box on a collection receptacle (bucket), and slice and dice it all into the bucket below. I've harvested hives with lots of cross comb like that before. Just lift up the top bars/frames a bit, and run a knife through so that everything falls out the bottom. It's pretty fast, actually.

Sure, there's a little mess in the box, but return it straight to the hive and the bees clean it up fast enough.

BBC wrote:
However, if you plan on removing a whole box of honey combs in one go, then carefully consider the weight involved beforehand - that is one of the many reasons I decided to build my Warre variant using Russian-style 108mm deep boxes.


Yeah, I like the Perone 100mm deep supers, though they are so wide (600mm by 600mm), I think I'd make the hive dimensions smaller or break the supers into 2 or 3 boxes for each level.
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I found a photo of what I am talking about. I think it is a Warre, but look at the image on the right. See how instead of bars or frames, it is a plate?



We could minimize the amount of holes on those plates and leave a gap between the boards and I think there would be enough space for the bees to go between boxes. A plate or a couple of 1X4's or 1X6's would be a lot easier to make than dozens of top bars.

For the record, I am thinking about a hive like the Perone, where the brood box is never opened. So, the brood combs would hang from a plate, and probably have a window on the side for inspection. Then, the supers would be boxes 4 inches (100mm) tall, each with a plate or 2 on them as well. The plates would be nailed to the box, if needed.

Harvest would be simple, just pull off a super, set on a bucket, lift out the plate and cut everything off into the bucket. Put the super back on the hive. Quick and easy.
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Last edited by velacreations on Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Japanese hive?

There was a picture posted some years ago of a Warre, in Portugal I think, with boards with holes instead of bars or a grid. That got me thinking about hole size and density and pattern....I put it on the back burner for a bit. I thought it might be a nice experiment for using my national boxes....untouched brood and harvested supers separated with a grid if holes as narrow diameter as a standard slot on a queen excluder between the brood and first super and more open above. Maybe it would be easier to have wide top bars with a narrow gap....keep the Q downstairs if that is your inclination.


Just thoughts....
A
Wow ....you found that picture and posted as I was writing.....
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Japanese hive just boxes with internal supports, but no bars or plates at all?

I really don't care where the queen goes. Short supers usually keeps her downstairs, anyway.

The issue here, to me, is cross comb, and not having to even worry about it ever. Also, making top bars is a PITA without a table saw.

For something as big as the Perone, there are a lot of bars to make. A plate or a couple of big boards is considerably easier and faster. Considering that you never move the brood bars, anyway, why make bars at all? Same for the supers, the Perone top bars are one big grid, so it's kinda like a plate.

For that matter, you could take something like 3/4" plywood or 1X6's and cut a slit in them with a circular saw or a router. That would be faster than holes.
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
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Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the Japanese hive is a series of boxes similar to a Warre but with no bars or frames. The bees start on the crown board arrangement which could just be a board and work downwards. The boxes have spales or wires to give a bit of comb support. Boxes are added to the bottom so the whole thing has to be lifted to add a box. A lift would be useful as backs can be expensive. This hive has a low volume in comparison to the massive Perone hive and was developed using the Asian honey bee which is more swarmy than the European honey bee. Honey is harvested by slicing the top box off when it is judged that the bees have back filled it.

What I liked about the Perone was the suggestion the Queen stayed down and the honey was stored above in supers thus limiting the lifting in the vertical system. My concern about where the queen was laying was practical in the sense of with free comb it would be hard to know exactly where the brood was. It would seem simpler to ensure the nest was not inadvertently upstairs when one came to harvest...perhaps in a central column up the hive as was suggested might happen in the original video of the MK1 Perone hive we did....I believe it can happen in a Warre...a column of brood in a tube of honey.

When looking at the Perone system and building both hives I did wonder about the use of a grid with top bars forcing the bees to make narrow combs,(32 or 33mm centres) something the small cell bee keepers talk about, rather than a plate you describe and show above which would allow the bees more freedom. Not total freedom as I think the number, diameter and pattern of the holes would influence initial comb building.

I think this holed board is a good idea to try and possibly simpler than top bars but lots of holes to drill. If you create slots in a board what would be the distances between...it comes back to thinking about centres again. I am inclined to think that the board would need to be perforated enough for the bees to perceive what is above is part of their 'space' and not another 'space'. How much that perforation would need to be I do not know...perhaps a wooden version of a standard sheet steel or plastic queen excluder would be the right amount of voids through the board. It is yet another big reserarch project!

Are you going to give it a go?
A
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velacreations
Guard Bee


Joined: 25 Sep 2009
Posts: 56
Location: Mexico, Chihuahua

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did anyone actually have a central column of brood in the Perone mk1 design? I seem to remember Oscar had a lot of those in operation, as well as other people in other countries, but I never remember seeing a central brood column. A couple of windows on the side might give you a glimpse of where brood ends. That may be an exaggerated issue, I've never seen it myself.

I absolutely do not want to lift an entire hive, be it Perone, Lang, or Warre. I like my back the way it is, and frankly, I am not convinced nadiring is more desirable than supering. So, for me, I want to super, and I want supering to be easy, harvesting to be easy, and building to be easy. I have a big barrel horizontal TBH, and it works great in terms of being easy to use and harvest. But, it takes a lot of time to make all those top bars, especially so they don't cross comb.

I am certainly tempted to give it a go. I have a swarm that moved into an old Lang box about a month ago, and they have almost filled that box, so I figured I might add a couple more mediums to make like a Perone mk1 brood chamber. I then have like 3 or 4 shorter supers I could put on top of those.

The "plates" could go in between the boxes. I'm not sure if slots are even needed. I think if you used 1X4's for the plate, and just give a 3/8" gap between the boards, it would probably work. What I may do is try one like that, then one with holes, and one with slots. Then I can compare each one and the movement in between. If the bees had a hard time moving between, then I could add more spaces.

If they respond well to it, and we have a great year for swarms next year (like we did this year), I'll make a few to test it further, maybe using the Perone mk2 dimensions. The one thing about the mk2 is that I would make each level of super be like 2-3 boxes. Again, I hate lifting things! Smile
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